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Merry Christmas

It’s easy to forget the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Therefore I want to share a picture I captured in the beautiful Cathedral of my home town. It’s from the baptismal chapel inside the Cathedral. The polyptych behind the baptismal font is dedicated to Maria Magdalena.

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

A capture from the baptismal chapel in the Strängnäs Cathedral. In the background you can see a polyptych dedicated to Maria Magdalena.

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Church, Photo, Strängnäs

 

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Västerviken Panorama

Some places are just made for capturing as panoramic images. Places worth seeing in 180 degrees or more. I have two absolute favorite places that fall in to this category. I’ve made these panoramic images before, several times. But this one of Västerviken in Strängnäs, my hometown, I never made in HDR before. The panorama consists of four HDR-photos, captured on free hand, which I’ve stitched together. The captures is made just an hour before sunset when this view, IMO, is as most beautiful.

This Panorama HDR is captured at Västerviken in Strängnäs, Sweden, just before sunset!

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Panorama, Photo, Strängnäs

 

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The Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Peterhof

One more interesting building to visit when you’re in Peterhof is the Russian Orthodox cathedral of saints Peter and Paul. The Cathedral is located just across the main street from the Upper Gardens of the Grand Palace. This Cathedral is built in a more traditional russian architecture style than most cathedrals and churches in Saint Petersburg. It has a pyramidal shape crowned with five tented heads. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos inside russian orthodox churches. But this one is richly and very beautifully decorated inside. If you take a marshutka from Baltisky Railwaystation in Saint Petersburg you can jump of at the bus stop just beside the cathedral. Very cheep, cost only 50 rubles (1,2 €). If you’re not comfortable with the public transport in Russia, you can always buy an excursion. There are lots of companies offering a broad variety of excursions.

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (Собор Петра и Павла) a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Peterhof, 25 km east of Saint Petersburg, Russia.The construction of the cathedral begun in 1894 and was completed in 1904. On the 12th of June 1905 the cathedral was consecrated in the presence of the Tsar family. The side chapels of Saint Alexander Nevsky and Saint Xenia were consecrated on the 28th of August the same year.The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is built in the spirit of 16th and 17th century Russian architecture. Exteriorly it has a pyramidal shape crowned with five tented heads. The height of the cathedral is about 70 meter.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Peterhof, Photo, Saint Petersburg

 

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The Smolny Convent & Cathedral

Poor Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great! She had inherited her fathers brilliant intellect, fluent in four languages, was an excellent dancer and rider, and also was commonly considered to be the leading beauty of the Russian Empire. But despite all her extraordinary talents, she saw the Russian throne slip through her fingers, not once but four times! After her father’s death, the Russian throne was inherited, in order, by her mother Catherine I, her nephew Peter II, her cousin Anna, and finally Anna’s newborn grandnephew Ivan VI. Even worse, nobody of royal rank would like to mary a princess which is so out of favor as Elizabeth. The only option left for Elizabeth was to become a nun. But the daughter of Peter the Great could not live in an ordinary monastery so it was decided to construct a new Russian Orthodox monastery for nuns, the Smolny Convent. But the fate turned into Elizabeth’s favor and Ivan turned out to be the poor guy. Shortly after being crowned Russian Tsar at the age of two months, Ivan VI was overthrown by Elizabeth and spent the rest of his life imprisoned.

Elizabeth gladly seized the power and spent the last 21 years of her life as a very successful and loved Empress of Russia. She lavishly spent mony on the grandiose baroque projects of her favourite architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, particularly in Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo. In Saint Petersburg the most eye-catching monuments are the Smolny Convent and the Winter Palace which both where not compleated until after Elizabeth’s death in 1761.

The Smolny Convent & Cathedral is located in a remote part of Saint Petersburg so foreign tourist are rare here. The best way to get here is to go by bus, marshutka or taxi. There is no nearby metro station.

Today, the Smolny Cathedral is not occupied by the orthodox church and are mainly used as a concert hall. The surrounding convent buildings house various offices and government institutions.

A low perspective capture of the magnificent Smolny Cathedral.

The Smolny Cathedral (Смольный собор) in Saint Petersburg, Russia.The Smolny Convent of the Resurrection, located on Ploschad Rastrelli, on the bank of the River Neva, consists of a cathedral and a complex of buildings surrounding it. Smolny Convent was originally built to house the daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth, after she was disallowed to take the throne and opted instead to become a nun. However, as soon as her Imperial predecessor, Ivan VI,  was overthrown during a coup, carried out by the royal guards, Elizabeth decided to forget the whole idea of a stern monastic life and happily accepted the offer of the Russian throne.Smolny Convent is one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian architect Rastrelli, who also created the Winter Palace, the Grand Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, the Grand Palace in Peterhof and many other major St. Petersburg landmarks. After Elizabeth death in 1762 the new Empress, Catherine the Great, strongly disapproved of the baroque style, and funding that had supported the construction of the convent rapidly ran out. Rastrelli was unable to build the huge bell-tower he had planned and unable to finish the interior of the cathedral. The building was only finished in 1835 by Vasily Stasov with the addition of a neo-classical interior to suit the changed architectural tastes at the time. The Cathedral was consecrated 1835.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in History, Photo, Saint Petersburg

 

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Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli

I thought I should write a short resume from a trip a I made to Russia last summer. I also want to show you some of my favorite pictures from this trip!

Where is the best place to start this trip? The answer to this question is Saint Petersburg. If you only can visit one place in Russia, then you should go to the “Venice of the North” or “Peter” as Russians call their beautiful city. “Peter” leaves a rather European than Russian impression. It’s also much younger than most other major Russian cities, founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as the new capital of his Russian Empire. Here are the churches and palaces mainly built in baroque style rather than traditional russian architectural style.

The Italian born architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli has left many impressive architectural landmarks in “Peter”. He was appointed as the senior court architect in 1730 and his works found favour with the regents of this time, the Empresses Anna Ivanovna and Elizaveta Petrovna. He combined the latest Italian architectural fashion with traditions of the Muscovite baroque style and developed an easily recognizable style of Late Baroque.

Francesco Bartolomeo has got a square named after him in Saint Petersburg, Ploschad Rastrelli (Rastrelli Square). Here you can enjoy a wonderful view of one of his architectural masterpieces, The Smolny Convet.

More about this building in my next post.

A 180 degree panorama of the Smolny Convent (Смольный монастырь) in Saint Petersburg, Russia.The Smolny Convent of the Resurrection, located on Ploschad Rastrelli, on the bank of the River Neva, consists of a cathedral and a complex of buildings surrounding it. Smolny Convent was originally built to house the daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth, after she was disallowed to take the throne and opted instead to become a nun. However, as soon as her Imperial predecessor, Ivan VI,  was overthrown during a coup, carried out by the royal guards, Elizabeth decided to forget the whole idea of a stern monastic life and happily accepted the offer of the Russian throne.Smolny Convent is one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian architect Rastrelli, who also created the Winter Palace, the Grand Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, the Grand Palace in Peterhof and many other major St. Petersburg landmarks. After Elizabeth death in 1762 the new Empress, Catherine the Great, strongly disapproved of the baroque style, and funding that had supported the construction of the convent rapidly ran out. Rastrelli was unable to build the huge bell-tower he had planned and unable to finish the interior of the cathedral. The building was only finished in 1835 by Vasily Stasov with the addition of a neo-classical interior to suit the changed architectural tastes at the time. The Cathedral was consecrated 1835.

This 180 degree panorama is made out of 4 HDR-pictures, in total 12 exposures (4×3).
(Later I will publish a tutorial about how I make my HDR)

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in History, Photo, Saint Petersburg

 

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Roofscape

At the terrace behind Saint Mary’s Cathedral you can see a beautiful view over Visby roofscape and the Baltic Sea. This is a perfect view enjoy a wonderful sunset and the mighty silhouette of the Cathedral.

This is in my opinion the most beautiful of our 13 cathedrals (domkyrkor) in Sweden, the Cathedral of Saint Mary (Sankta Maria Domkyrka in Swedish) in Visby, Gotland.Out of the many churches that existed in medieval Visby only one remains in service, Saint Mary's Cathedral (13 other remains as church ruins).  Construction of the church, dedicated to Virgin Mary, begun in the late 1100’s on funds donated by German merchants. The church also known as “Our dear wife´s church” during medieval times was originally built as a guest church for German merchants but after a fire destroyed the German parish church of Saint Nicolai the church was inaugurated as a parish church for both the German and Gutnish parishes. After the church of Saint Hans was abandoned in 1533 the church of Saint Mary remained the only parish church of Visby. Many of the other churches were burnt down when Lübeck invaded Visby in 1525, but Saint Mary's was spared. When the Diocese of Visby was founded in 1572, Saint Mary becomes a cathedral.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Photo, Visby

 

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Beautiful light

Isn’t it beautiful how the afternoon light falls through the stained glass window and paints the side altar of Saint Mary’s cathedral with wonderful colours and light! Perfect timing of light is one of the key-factors when it comes to capture a beautiful picture! Late afternoon is a good time to visit Saint Mary. But it should be a sunny day of course and time varies a lot depending on time of year. This HDR-picture was captured in late August.

See how beautiful the afternoon light falls through the stained glass window on the side altar of Saint Mary's Cathedral in Visby, Gotland.This is in my opinion the most beautiful of our 13 cathedrals domkyrkor in Sweden, the Cathedral of Saint Mary Sankta Maria Domkyrka in Swedish. Out of the many churches that existed in medieval Visby only one remains in service, Saint Mary's Cathedral 13 other remains as church ruins. Construction of the church, dedicated to Virgin Mary, begun in the late 1100s on funds donated by German merchants. The church also known as Our dear wifes church during medieval times was originally built as a guest church for German merchants but after a fire destroyed the German parish church of Saint Nicolai the church was inaugurated as a parish church for both the German and Gutnish parishes. After the church of Saint Hans was abandoned in 1533 the church of Saint Mary remained the only parish church of Visby. Many of the other churches were burnt down when Lübeck invaded Visby in 1525, but Saint Mary's was spared. When the Diocese of Visby was founded in 1572, Saint Mary becomes a cathedral.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Photo, Visby

 

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